The Lonely 7mm Weatherby Magnum
Are there any 7mm Weatherby fans out there? I can't remember ever having seen a new 7mm Weatherby rifle in any configuration on any dealer's shelf, and I have seen 2 new .240 Weatherby Magnums in the past, one in a Deluxe model. What does this say? This is a difficult cartridge for me to write about because I've never been a fan of the 7mm in any configuration. In fact, I'm not a fan of any metrically designated cartridge, but that's just my own biased any really means nothing. Where does this cartridge fit? That's where I struggle. The 7mm Weatherby is tightly shoe-horned between the .270 Weatherby and the venerable .300 Weatherby. It's too tight of a squeeze for me. I guess if a hunter wanted to forgo the .270 and .300 Weatherby, the 7mm Weatherby starts to make a bit more sense, especially when combined in a 2 rifle battery with something like a .340 Weatherby Magnum. For some reason, my interest in the 7mm Weatherby is increasing, lately. The .284 caliber is extremely popular and, in the heavier bullets of 160 grains up, the sectional density is outstanding.
The 7mm Weatherby was among the first of Roy Weatherby's original cartridges and joins the .257 and .270 Weatherby in that regard. It was born in 1944 and was based on the shortened and blown-out .300 H&H case. Even though this was the first commercial 7mm magnum on the market, the gunwriters completely ignored it's existence and screamed and hollered for a 7mm Magnum. Remington met that need in 1962 but, with the Weatherby version already established, there was no need for the 7mm Remington. There was another 7mm Magnum that came right after the Weatherby, and that was the 7x61 Sharp & Hart. This cartridge received far less play in the market than even the Weatherby. So, where does the 7mm Weatherby truly fit in usefullness where it sits tightly between the .270 and .300 Weatherby? If you look at the ballistics charts, there is very little discernable difference between the .270 and 7mm Magnums. If I were to own the 7mm Weatherby, I'd settle on the 160 grain Accubond. The Accubonds are tremendously effective and extremely accurate in my rifles. The 7mm Magnums really come into their own with the heavier bullets of 160 grains and up but, the problem with that is, you're right into the .300 Weatherby's territory. Now, if recoil were an issue and you wanted performance as close to the .300 Weatherby as possible, then the 7mm Weatherby makes sense. Is that where it fits? If so, can't the .270 Weatherby fill all those needs just as well? A couple big benefits to this cartridge for me would be that it comes chambered in the best bolt action rifle made in the World, comes with a 26" barrel, Weatherby factory loads are the best available factory loads without exception, and there is an amazing selection of 7mm bullets out there to choose from.
It's a shame that the Remington version became the world standard because the Weatherby version is actually a better cartridge and is capable of slightly better performance. Jack O'Connor believed it was the best of all the Weatherby chamberings and it may also be one of the most versatile of the Weatherby cartridges.
So, where does this cartridge fit in? Maybe it doesn't matter. Truth is, the 7mm Weatherby is no more of an in-between child than any cartridge in the Weatherby line-up. A solid case can be made about the .257, .270. and .300 that, they too, are just in-betweeners that can be eliminated in favor of either cartridge sitting on its left or right in the Weatherby line-up. It all depends on your starting point. You like what you like and maybe that's all that matters. You certainly will never go wrong by choosing the 7mm Weatherby.